The Campanian gastronomy was influenced by Phoenicians, Greeks, Arabs who frequented Campania’s coast regions in different periods while in more recent periods, the French and Spaniards introduced some of their gastronomic habits and culture.
In Campania, vegetables are the stars of the “cucina” – ripe and seasonal, transformed into appetizers, soups, pastas or rice sauces, side dishes , salads, main courses and even raw palate fresheners to be served at meal’s end together with fruit . Fresh, canned, in sauce or sun-dried – tomatoes ( pomodoro) is the “ king” of the region’s cuisine, one of the three “P”s dominating the local cuisine, the perfect condiment for pasta, the best ever ingredient to accompany a pizza.
The region is homeland of many world-famous dishes and products, and it was the Neapolitans who added tomato “fire” to a kind of pizza which dates back to the Greek times and let it become one of world’s most popular dishes. Pizza you can eat all over the world but tasted here is something different. There are many types of pizzas but two are the most typical in Naples – “Marinara” ( tomato, garlic, olive oil and oregano) and “ Margherita” – offered in 1889 by Raffaele Esposito to the Queen Margherita and named in her honour, with ingredients which recall the Italian flag ( red – tomato, white – mozzarella; green – basil).
Pasta plays a staring role in the local cuisine, produced in thousands different shapes and served with numerous, savoury sauces. The ancient art of making pasta from durum wheat was started at Gragnano, near Naples more that 500 years ago.
This region also boasts many exquisite diary products such as the inimitable buffalo mozzarella, the delicate ricotta , tasty cacio-cavallo silano cheese, served fresh or mature, Provolone del Monaco DOP, burrini stuffed with butter pure.
Many historical dishes, which were served for the Royal court, such as minestra maritata , ragu di carne, sartu di riso, etc., etc., are still prepared in many homes as well as in some of the best restaurants in line with ancient recipes and rules.
The divinely sumptuous desserts are not to be missed while in Campania. Favourites are: Sfogliatella ( filled with fresh ricotta cheese and candied fruit, flavoured with vanilla and cinnamon); Babà ( sponge cake steep in rum syrup, served also with ice-cream. It was invented by Stanislao Leszczynski, Luis’ XV father-in-law, king of Poland from 1704-1735 and imported to Naples by French chefs “ monsù” who worked for aristocratic families and “adopted ” as a typical Neapolitan dessert); Pastiera ( made of grain, ricotta, orange water, candied cedar); Delizia di Sorrento. In the province of Benevento you will find specialities as torroni nugats whose tradition goes back to the Roman times.
Wines has been produced in Campania for over 3000 years and the region offers a variety of excellent red and white wines – from Irpinia area Taurasi, noble Greco di Tufo, Fiano, Falanghina, Vesuvio’s wines, sparkling wines from Caserta, Sannite reds, Lacrima Christi red or white wine. Those who like liqueurs will appreciate the strong Strega from Benevento and especially the famed Limoncello, the pride of Sorrento and Capri, based on local, strongly scented lemons. And last but not at least – while in Naples tasting of the strong, aromatic espresso coffee, served piping hot is a “ must”. Once you taste it, you will never forget it.
- Where: Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paestum and area, Benevento
- Duration: from 1 day till 5 days
- No of participants: from 8 till 30 persons